A closer look at Windows Intune Extensions…what’s in it for me?

In a nut shell: Windows Intune Extensions are new features which will be delivered by your Windows Intune Cloud Services (Windows Intune Connector) into your Configuration Manager site.

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proces of installing Windows Intune Extensions

What are Windows Intune Extentions?

With extensions you are able to introduce new capabilities through Windows Intune are available from within the Configuration Manager console. Configuration Manager administrators can enable individual extensions to gain access to these new capabilities without waiting for the next service pack or major product release to introduce that functionality. Continue reading “A closer look at Windows Intune Extensions…what’s in it for me?”

Overview of Settings Management in R2 & “Wave E”

As you might know Microsoft has started upgrading the Windows Intune cloud service to the next version, Wave E  which will be (GA) available on October 18th together with System Center R2.

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With the arrival of these new product versions Microsoft introduces a lot of new features and settings related to Unified Device Management #UDM (formerly known as Mobile Device Management #MDM). Some new features are:

  • Extended Windows Intune connector
  • Native Self-Service Portal App for Windows iOS & Andriod platform
  • Support for Work Folders
  • Resource Access
  • Selective Wipe

Ronni Pedersen provides in a blog post a complete overview of all new features comming with R2 and wave E.

Continue reading “Overview of Settings Management in R2 & “Wave E””

Windows Intune Product Comparison vs. Mobile Device Management Market Leaders #sysctr #windowsintune

 

With the announcement of Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune (wave E) Microsoft offers a mature Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution which it emphatically (re)positions itself in the market of enterprise device management software. Various publications including Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software (May 2013) shows that Microsoft plays no significant role in the market of enterprise mobile device management software.

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Figure 1Gartners Magic Quadrant for MDM software.

Successors System Center Mobile Device Management 2008 wasn’t that success and was too early with the lack of suitable hardware. With the current version of Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 and Windows Intune (wave D) Microsoft is working on it closing the gap by providing base MDM functionality. But was it good enough to be a serious competitor in the market of enterprise MDM solutions? With the announcement of Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and 4th generation of Windows Intune (wave E) I am convinced this will change!

Goal of this article is to provide a high-level overall product comparison of Microsoft MDM solution based on Configuration Manager 2012 R2/Windows Intune (wave E) versus the current MDM market leaders Airwatch, MobileIron, Citrix and Good Technology. The product comparison is based on the following areas: platform support, infrastructure complexity, features and licensing & pricing.

Continue reading “Windows Intune Product Comparison vs. Mobile Device Management Market Leaders #sysctr #windowsintune”

How to: Create and deploy VHD’s with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Preview #sysctr

With Windows Server 2012 R2 preview, Windows 8.1 preview, SQL Server 2014 and System Center 2012 R2 preview Microsoft announced at TechEd Europe 2013 big updates of there current server, client and management software and continues there cloud vision.

So on with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 – which includes many new features and product improvements. One of my favorites is creating VHD’s! Running your task sequences directly into a VHD. No need to capture your images – just straight into the system..that’s make sense.

Before starting…

In order to create VHD’s with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 take care of the following:

  • Hyper-V – You have to makes sure your console is installed on a machine where Hyper-V role is enabled, otherwise the option remains greyed-out in your console.
  • VMM 2012 SP1/R2 console – Virtual Machine Manager console is required in order to upload VHD’s into VMM.
  • Disk space – Make sure you have enough space on your machine where you are running the VHD creation process. A temp VHD will be created to your temp directory (C:\Users\<user-ID\AppData\Local\Temp).
  • Windows ADK 8.1Required for the creating and maintaining WIM-, ISO- and VHD files.

Lets get started…

  • Just start the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Preview console and browse to the Operating Systems pane.

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  • In preparation of creating a VHD we create first a new Task Sequence based on the new template ‘Install an existing image package to a virtual hard drive’

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  • Provide the usual suspects like name, description, boot image as you used to be with a normal Task Sequence

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  • When finished the Task Sequence we can proceed with the Create Virtual Hard Drive Wizard (only enabled when Hyper-V role is installed on the machine where you are running the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 console).

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  • Now we select the Task Sequence which we created previously which contains a Boot Image (x64), Windows 8 OS image and the Configuration Manager 2012 Client Package. This Task Sequence can be configured with all the requirements/needs for your image.

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  • When finished the wizard the process of creating a VHD based on your create Task Sequence has started.

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  • To have a closer look of the VHD creation process use the DeployToVHd.log which is depending where you installed the console – by default located at ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\AdminUILog’

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    • In general a boot media (iso) is created followed by creating a temp VHD. Then a VM is created attached with the temp VHD and boot media.

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    • When the VM’s comes online the usual Task Sequence process is executed.

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    • When finished the Task Sequence process the machine is prepped and will be switched of after 5 minutes (shutdown -s -t 300), so be patient Smile

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    • At this stage our VHD is ready and will be copied to a destination file share which is previously defined in the task sequence.

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    • The created VHD including a default installation of Windows 8 is now available in the console. Equal to Offline Servicing of WIM files the VHD can be serviced offline as well. which is pretty awesome!

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    • Additional to Offline Servicing VHD’s can be uploaded straight to Virtual Machine Manager in order to used VHD for provisioning VM machines based on the VHD created by Configuration Manager 2012 R2

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    Note! Integration between Configuration Manager 2012 R2 preview and Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 nor R2 preview seems not to be working at this stage.

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    Conclusion…

    Creating VHD’s is a great feature which is more than welcome addition to Configuration Manager 2012 R2. It improves the desktop imaging process for IT-pros. No more capture steps just straight into the VHD. A improvement point is the lack of support for VHDX, but that is just a matter of time I guess.

    Someone dropped a quote on Twitter this week: ‘With flexibility comes complexity” …well this is an exception to the rule Winking smile

    SneakPreview: “Microsoft is closing the gap for enterprise Mobile Device Management”. Product comparison shortly available…

    Soon you can expect a product comparison of Microsoft Enterprise Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution based on the recent announced System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2 and the 5th generation of Windows Intune (wave E).

    Recently Gartner published the Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management where Microsoft was missing as enterprise Mobile Device Management vendor. That makes me wondering why? Whether justified or not is subordinate! What matters is what Microsoft offers right now with Unified Mobile Device Management (UDM). That was the trigger…

    Herewith a short impression …

    With the announcement of Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune (wave E) Microsoft offers a mature Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution which it emphatically (re)positions itself in the market of enterprise device management software. Various publications including Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software (May 2013) shows that Microsoft plays no significant role in the market of enterprise mobile device management software.

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    Figure 1Gartners Magic Quadrant for MDM software.

    Continue reading “SneakPreview: “Microsoft is closing the gap for enterprise Mobile Device Management”. Product comparison shortly available…”